Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Life (Page 1 of 10)

Clayton Kershaw and the art
of choosing joy over blame

Life offers many lanes going the same direction.  

If you don’t know it by now, I value the journey more than the destination. Don’t get me wrong — the destination can be amazing, and not reaching it can be so frustrating. Failure to go the distance can sour me on my own journey if I’m not careful.

My novel is Exhibit A. Not only am I so proud of my writing, but it was such a great experience — at times, as I’ve probably said here, my best friend. And yet, it’s been a year-plus since it’s been on the market, and I can’t get it sold. I’ve had editors praise it while saying it’s not marketable. Maybe that’s just their way of being nice. Maybe they’re just lazy, since I think it is easily marketed. Either way, I have to remind my self that the process — the moments of writing that thrilled me (especially when I transcended a roadblock) — that all was the best part. 

This is a very long way for me to make a short comment about Clayton Kershaw’s seven perfect innings today. 

I have passed the point where I think a World Series title is the be-all, end-all of Major League Baseball. Obviously, the Dodgers’ title satisfied a big longing 18 months ago. Now, I would have rather seen Kershaw go for the perfect game rather then pull him out for the sake of October. For me, Kershaw perfection would generate more pure joy, like that finding that perfect plot point, thrilling beyond measure.  

That doesn’t mean that the Dodgers committed a crime by pulling him from the game. Pursuit of the playoffs and a championship is a truly worthy goal. Taking steps to protect a 34-year-old lefty with a record of injuries, so that we can see him on the mound as much as possible going forward, is also a truly worthy goal. 

Something good doesn’t mean the other thing is bad. Ice cream comes in many good flavors. I like burgers and I like baby back ribs. We don’t have to choose between one preference and another. Both are there for us as we travel the boulevards of life. We can see the horizon from both lanes. 

Either way, seven perfect innings on a cold April afternoon for a legend ain’t bad. 

Let’s not assign blame on a happy day. The last thing that makes sense on a day like today is to fight about it. 

Today was a moment to treasure. As Vin Scully would surely remind us, be glad that it happened. And let the rest go. 

Introducing my new music newsletter, Slayed by Voices

So, I know I didn’t do a wrap-up on the 2021 Dodger season, which is a shame, though if ever there were a season that sort of explained itself, it was this one. Also, I’m just past recoiling from what I thought was an innocent tweet I posted the night the Dodgers were eliminated, that somehow engendered more anger (from three different fan bases) than anything I’ve ever put out. 

In any case, I’m hoping some of you might be interested in reading a new endeavor I’ve begun, called Slayed by Voices. Quite simply, it’s a limited series newsletter dedicated to songs I adore. I plan to a deep dive into one song in each post, twice a week, 13 weeks in all. And, before you sweat this part out, it’s FREE. Not just at the start, or on certain days a week – it’s free all the way through. 

(I know, it’s a bit weird for the Dodger guy to be doing this, but call it a change of pace.)

I’m publishing on Substack, which means you can subscribe and get it in newsletter form each time, Mondays and Thursdays. Or, you can journey to https://slayedbyvoices.substack.com.

Check out the introductory post here, which explains things further and will allow you to subscribe with the touch of a button. 

https://slayedbyvoices.substack.com/p/introducing-slayed-by-voices

I hope you’ll give it a look, with the first featured song coming Monday. That said, my feelings won’t be hurt at all if this isn’t your cup of tea. I just wanted to let you know about it. 

Hope you all are doing well!

The Latest Chapter in Our Great Adventure with the Dodgers

On August 23, 2018, the Dodgers were 4 1/2 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West with 34 games to play.

Now, we know that in 2018 Los Angeles came back, won the division and went to the World Series. Then, we did not. Then, I dare say, more people thought the Dodgers wouldn’t come back than thought they would. 

Now, the Dodgers are five games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West with 47 games to play. Will the Dodgers come back? We have no idea. 

This is another chapter in our great adventure, another milepost in our epic journey of suspense. And we can rue the uncertainty and curse the inanity all we want, but baseball does not exist without it. 

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Novel progress, 2021


So, the novel that I first described here in 2018 and updated here and here and here in 2019 and here at the end of 2020 … is done. Or, at least, it’s as done as these things get before someone agrees to publish them. 

And that’s where things are right now. I have an agent who has begun to pitch the novel to editors, and I’m in the rather nauseating stage of waiting for one or more to bite. I even wonder whether it’s bad luck, bad karma or bad form to talk about it at this stage, but here I go. 

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Thinking of Vin

Today’s Instagram post by Vin Scully has shaken me.

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Novel progress, 2020

Nope, I haven’t stopped.

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First names of the President rarely begin with vowels

Joe Biden will be the 28th consecutive President of the United States whose name does not begin with a vowel. There have only been four presidents out of 46 whose names began with vowels, and three of them came consecutively: Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant. The other was Andrew Jackson. 

Note: This might not be the most significant aspect of this election. 

For a moment, I’m 20 again

I realized something while out walking early this morning. It has, of course, been 32 years since the Dodgers won the World Series, and I’m 32 years younger than my father.

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I can hide, but I can’t run

I’m holding a stuffed toy baseball with a rattle inside. I think my friend Jim gave it to me, decades ago. We weren’t children anymore, but he knew I liked baseball things, and I believe it was just a fun or funny thing he spotted somewhere and decided just to pass along to me as a token. I kept it. The kids played with it when they were younger, then it went into a storage cabinet in the garage. Sometime this month, I pulled it out. It’s been my rally tool. I’ve been shaking it to celebrate the Dodgers doing something well or to try to stop their opponents from doing well. 

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In the middle of the night

Woke up at 2 a.m., still imagining A.J. Pollock getting a hit to complete that comeback. A single through the hole. A double down the line. A home run to walk off something incredible. I can see it so clearly. I feel like I can reach out and touch it.

It’s so beautiful. I can see the celebration. I can picture myself flying off the couch and scaring my children with my happiness. I can see it. I can feel it. I almost can’t believe it didn’t happen. A 6 in the bottom of the ninth column of the linescore. It’s right in front of me. 

Just one more baseball eluding a fielder.

In sports with a clock, a big comeback often becomes impossible at a certain point, before the game is over. In baseball, it never does. Even in defeat, even as others were spitting on the idea, I was reminded why I cherish that.

Please don’t comment on this if you’re going to be negative. I’ve gotten enough of that elsewhere. If you are angry, I understand — but just leave me out of it.

The nightmares of 2020 force perspective on the postseason

On the final day of January this year, I drove Young Master Weisman to a rehearsal for a cello performance in Calabasas. To bide the hours until he was ready to leave, I went to see the movie 1917 at a nearby theater. Then I drove to the Sagebrush Cantina, the modern-day saloon where I celebrated by 21st birthday on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend in 1988. Now, at age 52, I sat at the bar by myself, ordered one beer and watched the pregame ceremony at the first Laker game at Staples Center following the death of Kobe Bryant. And as I watched, I started to cry. 

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Anger is fear.
Anger is hurt.
Anger is pain.

Anger is not a baseline emotion. That’s what I have been taught in my 50s and should have been taught a lot sooner. 

Anger is an outlet for a more fundamental feeling. You are never angry without experiencing something deeper.

Anger comes from fear, conscious or unconscious. Anger comes from hurt, a wound slicing into you that can’t help but react to. Anger comes from pain, from the lingering, often harsh, often intolerable discomfort. 

Anger is trying to tell you something. 

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Sending a daughter to college during a pandemic

A recent CNN story playing right into my fears.

In my head, I have a list of the stupidest decisions I have ever made, a Mount Rushmore of “Why?” and “How?” — even though I know exactly why and how.

These weren’t accidents. They were choices, products of deep and agonized thought where I weighed everything with exceeding care … before taking what was obviously, in retrospect, the regrettable path. 

None of these decisions ruined me, and one could make the case that I’m all the stronger for them. 

But now, I’m about to take my daughter to college, and I wonder if it’s the action that’s going to be the singular destructive moment of my life. 

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Rewatching James at 15
and remembering 1970s TV

James at 15 premiered on NBC before my 10th birthday, but I was the kind of kid — I think a lot of us were — who craved TV that seemed more grown-up than I was. In fact, looking it up right now, I see that Soap premiered on ABC eight days later, and that might well have been the most controversial series of the 1970s, or at least since the debut of All in the Family. I remember watching a report about Soap on Eyewitness News earlier that evening, warning of the risqué material, but that didn’t keep me from watching the first episode that night. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but when we moved into our new house in Woodland Hills in late 1972, just as I was turning 5, the three Weisman kids each got their own bedrooms and their own TV sets. For real. Yes, we had it good. 

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A people too defiant for masks

It’s pretty clear that large swaths of the Los Angeles population — diverse in age, gender, class and ethnicity — have rejected wearing masks in proximity with others for reasons that have nothing to do with politics. 

I’m not a sociologist, scientist or pollster, but I just have trouble believing that the high percentage of people in this town I’ve observed going without them, even as they cross well within range of other humans, are all doing so out of allegience to party or a party leader. There is something much more basic at play.  

They say you can’t fight City Hall, but you also can’t fight the people who behave as they want in the face of so much reason to behave differently in a civil society. 

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